Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Drug Paraphernalia Defense Lawyer

In Oklahoma, a person can be arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, or the implements used to smoke, ingest, or inject illegal drugs. Often, this offense is charged in conjunction with possession of a controlled dangerous substance. For example, a person who is arrested for marijuana possession may be additionally charged with possession of drug paraphernalia if he or she also had a bong or roach clip.

Possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor on the first offense, carrying a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. While a misdemeanor conviction is no small matter, a second or subsequent conviction of paraphernalia possession brings even more serious penalties: up to $10,000 in fines and a 3-year suspension of one's driver's license.

Do not make the mistake of thinking that a misdemeanor charge for possession of paraphernalia is no big deal. It is a criminal charge that carries lasting repercussions beyond the initial conviction and sentence. A criminal record can negatively impact your ability to find a job, secure a financial loan, obtain a housing lease, or gain admission into a college or university.

If you are arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, act quickly to find a lawyer who can handle your case efficiently and effectively. At the Law Firm of Oklahoma, our team of attorneys has built a record of successful defense against misdemeanor and felony drug cases, securing positive outcomes for our clients charged with drug possession, possession of paraphernalia, drug distribution, and cultivation and manufacture of controlled dangerous substances.

We understand the impact a drug paraphernalia possession conviction can have on your current and future opportunities. We are committed to providing every client with quality defense to minimize the effects of a criminal charge and to avoid unnecessary conviction and penalties.

Illegal Drug Paraphernalia

Not all drug paraphernalia is illegal. Devices used to lawfully take a prescribed drug in the intended manner are not illegal. However, state law sees a big difference in a syringe used by a diabetic to inject insulin and a syringe used by a heroin addict to shoot up.

While possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor, the sale of drug paraphernalia to a minor under 18 is a felony. Felony conviction brings not only lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines, but also collateral consequences including the inability to gain certain professional licenses, loss of voting rights, and the prohibition of firearm possession.

The Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act defines "drug paraphernalia" in 63 O.S.  2-101 (36) of the Oklahoma Public Health and Safety code:

"'Drug paraphernalia'means all equipment, products and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or fashioned specifically for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing into the human body, a controlled dangerous substance in violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act . . . ."

The following items are among those prohibited as illegal drug paraphernalia:

  • Kits used for cultivating marijuana or manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance (CDS)
  • Scales used for weighing and measuring a CDS
  • Ingredients used in cutting a CDS
  • Water pipes, glass pipes, ice pipes, and more
  • Roach clips
  • Bongs
  • Cocaine spoons or vials

The above list is by no means exhaustive. Any item used for illegally cultivating, manufacturing, processing, or using a CDS may be considered drug paraphernalia, and possession of such an item could lead to criminal charges.

Determining Drug Paraphernalia

Some "head shops" attempt to circumvent drug paraphernalia laws by marketing items used to smoke marijuana or other drugs as "incense burners." However, even if an item is marketed for legal use, it may be considered illegal drug paraphernalia if it is used in an illicit manner, if it contains drug residue, or if it is found in the proximity of illegal drugs.

In 63 O.S.  2-101.1, state law describes how a jury should determine whether or not the item alleged to be in the defendant's possession is considered drug paraphernalia. Determining factors include the following:

  1. Statements by an owner or by anyone in control of the object concerning its use;
  2. The proximity of the object, in time and space, to a direct violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act;
  3. The proximity of the object to controlled dangerous substances;
  4. The existence of any residue of controlled dangerous substances on the object;
  5. Direct or circumstantial evidence of the intent of an owner, or of anyone in control of the object, to deliver it to any person who intends to use the object to facilitate a violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act. The innocence of an owner, or of anyone in control of the object, as to a direct violation of this act shall not prevent a finding that the object is intended for use, or fashioned specifically for use, as drug paraphernalia;
  6. Instructions, oral or written, provided with the object which either state directly or imply that the object is to be used for the consumption of controlled substances;
  7. Descriptive materials accompanying the object which explain or depict its use as an object for the consumption of controlled substances;
  8. The manner in which the object is displayed for sale;
  9. Whether the owner, or anyone in control of the object, is a legitimate supplier of like or related items to the community, such as a licensed distributor or dealer of tobacco products;
  10. Direct or circumstantial evidence of the ratio of sales of the object or objects to the total sales of the business enterprise;
  11. The existence and scope of legitimate uses for the object in the community; and
  12. Expert testimony concerning its use.

A skillful defense attorney may be able to use the defining features of the item in question to demonstrate that it is not, in fact, drug paraphernalia, but an item with lawful use and purpose.

Effective Defense against Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Charges

At the Law Firm of Oklahoma, we have represented hundreds of clients just like you, who are facing serious legal consequences after a criminal drug charge, including possession of drug paraphernalia.

Our clients trust us to carefully analyze the details of each case, including the all evidence and the circumstances surrounding your arrest. Through our painstaking attention to every aspect of your case, we work to determine the best defense strategy. Common defense strategies include demonstrating insufficient evidence, revealing an improper arrest, suppressing evidence gained through illegal search and seizure, and showing the lawful intended purpose of an item purported to be drug paraphernalia.

An arrest and criminal charge can be a frightening ordeal. Let the attorneys with the Law Firm of Oklahoma help guide you through this difficult time and work with you to find solutions to your legal problems. Call (405) 608-4990 to schedule a confidential, risk-free evaluation of your case.

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